Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi
- Exquisite audio, Strong bass, Incredible detail, Great extension on highs
- Some may find it difficult to get a good seal
If you're after a high end pair of IEMs, you will be hard pressed to find better than the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fis. Their sound signature is more detailed and less bass heavy than their main competitor, the Shure E500s, but they are every bit as impressive.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
Up until now we haven't reviewed a pair of in-ear-monitor's (IEM - inner ear headphones) that compares to Shure's phenomenal E500. However, the time for a successor has finally arrived. Ultimate Ears new triple driver IEM, the Triple.Fi, is an absolutely fantastic pair of headphones. It offers a different, but no less impressive sound signature than the E500s and finally provides a worthy competitor for Australian audiophiles. The only issue is with its fit, but this is extremely dependant on the individual person.
We had heard incredible things about the audio quality of the Triple.Fi headphones so our expectations were high. Fortunately they are everything we were hoping for and more.
The sound is extremely detailed and a lot more neutral than the E500s. We haven't heard this much detail on any other pair of IEMs we've tested. Every note and tone has its own distinct sound, separate from the rest of the music. This means the Triple.Fis are one of the most telling pairs of headphones on the market, so keep in mind, poorly recorded or encoded music will likely sound quite bad, as they will reveal the flaws much more readily than other units.
All the elements of the music are superbly rendered. Some have complained about the bass on these headphones, but as always with IEMs, it is simply a case of achieving an adequate seal with your ear canal. Once you've done this, the bass is strong and rich, extending nicely but decaying quite rapidly. The Triple.Fis certainly aren't as bass-heavy as the E500s, but they offer high quality bass that is suitable for a wide variety of music.
Meanwhile the mid-range is rich and warm, with exquisite detail and a very engrossing sound. The highs are smooth and sweeping, without any of the rolled off effect that is present on the E500s. No one element is emphasized here, meaning that these headphones are quite analytical and relatively neutral. However that doesn't make them boring. They still have the fun sound signature associated with Ultimate Ears products.
Lastly, we found the soundstage to be excellent. It is extremely encompassing with quite a grand feel for such a small pair of headphones, and while it won't quite compare to the effect of a pair of high quality over-the-head headphones, it is excellent for an IEM.
Comfort wise the Triple.Fis are quite good, although we found the E500s to be slightly more comfortable. These IEMs are quite big, thanks to the three drivers housed within and as a result they jut out from your ear quite a bit, instead of resting inside. As usual with IEMs, they slip deeply into your ear canal, which can be uncomfortable if you aren't used to it.
However, what this does do is create a seal with your ear canal, which isolates from external noise. It isn't as effective as active noise cancelling, but with your music pumping you will be hard pressed to hear anything around you. For those that get irritated by ambient noise interrupting their music, a pair of IEMs is a great choice. We found the Triple.Fi's noise cancelling to be quite good; on crowded public transport it completely blocked out any chatter, even from the seat immediately adjacent.
Our only issue with these headphones was with achieving a seal. Everybody's ear canal is a different shape, and to this end, companies usually provide a series of different tips for their IEMs, in the hope that you can tailor them to fit you as well as possible. Ultimate Ears are no exception, providing a variety of rubber and foam tips for the Triple.Fis. However, despite the multitude of options, we sometimes struggled to achieve a proper seal. This is largely a personal thing, although we have had no such issues with any other IEMs we've reviewed.
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